Roslyn High student-athletes tout class of 2021’s resiliency during commencement

Robert Pelaez
Roslyn High School student-athletes touted the resiliency of the Class of 2021 during their commencement ceremony. (Photo courtesy of the Roslyn School District)

Three student athletes from the Roslyn High School class of 2021 reflected on the resiliency they and their classmates displayed during the coronavirus pandemic at a commencement ceremony on June 16.

The ceremony kicked off with Alida Pahlevan reflecting on, not just the past four years of high school, but her entire tenure in the Roslyn school district.

“Most of us met for the first time in kindergarten, back when our biggest worries were coloring inside the lines, scrambling to become the line leader, or wondering what that mysterious ‘21’ stood for at the end of our computer logins,” Pahlevan said.

Pahlevan received the Heisman High School Scholarship, awarded annually by Acceptance Insurance, Scholarship America and the Heisman Trophy Trust to honor senior student-athletes across the country who make differences on the field, in their schools and in their communities.

A three-season varsity athlete in volleyball along with winter and spring track for her entire Roslyn High career, Pahlevan applied for the scholarship in late September and learned of her award in early November. The pandemic caused her to miss out on some of the traditional sporting events, but she, along with the rest of the graduates, was able to find a way to push through the adversity.

“Although our senior year was affected by these unprecedented times, and I know that everyone is sick and tired of hearing that phrase, we were ready to embrace any positive change at all,” Pahlevan said.

Salutatorian Daniel Rosman, a member of the varsity baseball team, compared his high school experience to the television show “Survivor,” which he wrote his college essay on. Rosman reflected on the various “tribes” he surrounded himself with in order to succeed.

“The tribal aspect of the game is a key component to an individual’s success,” Rosman said. “If we have learned anything this past year, it is that when we surround ourselves with the right tribe together, we can minimize our disadvantages when facing challenges and use our advantages to overcome any obstacle.”

Rosman introduced valedictorian and fellow baseball teammate Jordan Zucker. 

“Congratulations to my teammate and friend Jordan Zucker for being named class valedictorian,” Rosman said. “While you might be ahead of me in GPA, I still have more home runs than you and that is a trade-off I am willing to accept.”

Zucker spoke about how he competed at the highest level in athletics and academics, along with the challenges and rewards that came with both. Time management, he said, served a vital role.

“Several years ago, I attended a lecture where the speaker said, ‘Do today what others won’t, so tomorrow you can do what others can’t,’” he said. “I put those words into action every day of my life. When my parents drove me to baseball tournaments, I would study in the back of the car, because time was precious.”

This year, the varsity baseball team won the conference title for the first time since 1993. Zucker said the resiliency the team showed in transforming from a three-win team several years ago to conference champions started with long practices and long hours in the batting cage. The resiliency of the team, he said, was reflective of the entire class of 2021 facing the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“We learned that it’s not always about competing against others and beating them, sometimes it is about competing against yourself,” Zucker said. “There are no boundaries to what you can do.”

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